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April 4, 2013

Book Fourteen of my 2013 Goal

Mayan InterfaceMayan Interface by Wim Coleman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mayan Interface by Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin is a great read. I know very little about Mayan history and computer programing so I can't tell you how realistic any of this is but it still engaged me in its magical grasp. Once I started it, I hated when I had to put it down. It is not packed with action scenes nor is it a boring history book but it has both action and history in it and so much more. It is a mystery that has me looking at history a little differently and makes me wonder, what if? It is also about the spiritual with the Uay and mystical with the Zaztum and so much more.

The main character is Lydia Rosenstrom who is an archaeologist and shaman exploring Mayan ruins and translating Mayan glyphs in Yucatan but she leaves Yucatan to go to Portland. Her niece works at a museum there and is making an exhibit that has a virtual reality (VR) stroll through Mayan temples so visitors can see how the village looked. There are these plastic bubbles and the visitor stands in and puts on this type of headgear that allows them into this virtual world of long ago. When Lydia learns her niece died of fright in one of these bubbles she stayed in Portland to try and find out what had happened to her. How did she die in the virtual world as there is nothing in there that would cause a death unless someone tampered with the program, but who? She suspected the one person who has his own private access to this world, but why would he do such a thing?

This is not the only thing going on in the story although to me it is like the main plot, the one that starts the rest (aside from the fact that Lydia is trying to translate the glyphs). I have said enough about the plot since I don't want to give any spoilers but what I will say is that there are many layers to this story each holding its own magic, mysteries and warnings. There is another member of Lydia's archaeological team back in Yucatan and the storyteller is telling stories to him.These stories are things passed down generation to generation and a lot is learned about the Mayan through these stories. Also, a lot is learned by Lydia's experiences in the VR world. Not only about Mayan history but about herself and reality. All of these are braided together in this cleverly written story. Just as three strands in a braid are separate but are twisted in a way that they come together time and time again to make one braid so does this story. At no time did I feel I couldn't grasp what was going on nor did I feel like I was bounced from one thing to another. Instead, this was written with such fluidity that it was seamless and flowed naturally.

The authors described the scenes so spectacular that it was like I was in that VR bubble since I could see it laid out before me. It was extremely easy to visualize and if you are cooking dinner and you also smell that incense, put the book down and turn your stove off. You just burned dinner so you are having pizza tonight! (I did that, that is how engrossed I was in it.) Even the characters were described beyond the usual and they were all well developed.

While reading the book, I was on the edge of my seat a few times wondering what will happen next. Then I would put the book down to make dinner (more like burn dinner) or sleep and I would find myself wondering what if certain things were that way? Is reality something we only perceive on one level although there are many that make it up? Are we who we think we are? Is she who she thinks she is? It had me guessing all the way to the spectacular ending.

I highly recommend this book.

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